ESPN has announced a partnership with Facebook that will see user-generated content populate the weekly top ten on SportsCenter during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
With live sports around the world on hold due to the Coronavirus, the ten-week agreement will see a void in ESPN coverage filled, as the long-running SportsCenter top ten countdown will feature home videos such as trick shots, dance routines, and personal workouts.
Facebook told SportTechie Facebook and Instagram users will be encouraged to create original content from the safety of their own homes during the self-isolation measures.
“The intent of this partnership is to celebrate the people being safe at home posting these videos, inspire other people to join in and share their own and provide some much-needed entertainment for sports fans,” Facebook said.
In addition, ESPN will produce a show for Facebook Watch every week throughout the deal, based on user-generated clips, to be hosted by the founder of the House of Highlights channel, Omar Raja.
Raja was hired by ESPN in January to help grow its digital audience, and now fronts the Hoops Streams weekly basketball show on Twitter, YouTube and the ESPN app.
ESPN senior vice president of digital and social content, Ryan Spoon, said the network plans to make user-generated content “a major part of the playbook” even when live sport resumes, post COVID-19.
“It’s just a more significant portion of the playbook today than it will be when normalcy returns,” Spoon said.
The SportsCenter top ten featuring user-generated content from Facebook and Instagram is set to run every Wednesday for ten weeks, starting April 22.